Most people who met the late Elizabeth Edwards would describe her as fiercely intelligent, dynamic and the epitome of grace under pressure. She endured hardships that none of us would wish to deal with and had to do so under the unforgiving glare of the media spotlight. With her sad passing yesterday, the country lost a passionate advocate for universal health care. I personally would go so far as to say that much of my support for the John Edwards presidential candidacy in 2008 had to do with the appeal of getting Elizabeth Edwards as part of the package. Hell, if she had decided to be the candidate herself, I would have supported her.
Which is why I was ready to throw my shoe at Chris Matthews last night. A man who was not immune to the charms of Elizabeth Edwards, egregiously booked Mark Halperin to mark her passing.
Mark Halperin. Author of "Game Change". WTF???
"A very tough person" is what Halperin called her today, on "Hardball." When she was still with us, here's what the relentlessly smarmy Halperin wrote about Elizabeth Edwards:
What the world saw in Elizabeth: A valiant, determined, heroic every-woman. What the Edwards insiders saw: An abusive, intrusive, paranoid, condescending crazy-woman.
While usually careful to attribute the characterization to "insiders," Halperin's "Game Change" painted Edwards as, in Jason Linkins' words, "a shrill monster," guilty primarily of the crime of being intelligent and ambitious.
"The culture kicked Elizabeth Edwards when she was already down," Jonathan Alter just wrote at the Daily Beast.
And booking Halperin was just another kick. Note too, that the bulk of the airtime discussing her death, deals not with own achievements, her triumphs, her undeniable spirit, but of her husband's infidelity. All the things about Elizabeth that could be discussed, knowing her family is grieving and may actually be looking to see how this event is being covered in the media and what Matthews wants to talk about is the public humiliation she was subjected to as she fought cancer.
Really sensitive, Tweety. Way to honor a remarkable woman.